Despite better understanding in recent years, the professional burnout syndrome remains relatively poorly treated, partly because people afflicted with it do not identify it, or do so too late. Find out what the early symptoms are and how to react accordingly.
The most common symptoms
First of all, the symptoms of professional burnout can vary: not everyone will automatically have them all. However, there are alarm signals that should tell you that it
is time to take drastic action. The first is demotivation in relation to work, but be careful, it’s not simply having a bad day, but rather a constant state of discouragement and lack of desire. A tendency to be irritated and angry, or to cry often, is a second sign. Watch out as well for a state of anxiety, lack of self-confidence, indecision, and a feeling of
failure and continuing incompetence. Difficulties in concentrating and loss of memory can also signal a worsening situation. Physically, you may lose or gain weight, feel pain in the back or abdomen, and of course be extremely tired.
What’s to be done?
The first step, admittedly the most complicated, is to admit the problem. Professional burnout is still too often considered a mark of weakness, while it is a real disease that
needs to be cured. Do some work to look after yourself to avoid feeling guilty about suffering, and listen to those around you, who can help you become aware of it.
Then, the priority is to take a break. If you can manage it, ask for some days off and refocus on yourself: sleep and moments of relaxation are in order. You can plan some
activities to change your thinking, but don’t abuse them. It is not only your mind that suffers from this situation, you also have to recover physically, so don’t be surprised if
you are sleeping much longer than usual or are always tired. Don’t hesitate to get professional help: getting out of such a condition is not obvious and
on your own it borders on the impossible. A psychologist will know what you need and, especially, will listen to you. He can also say if you need to stop and for how long.
And what then?
With a bit of luck, you will have reacted in time and have avoided suicidal thoughts or three years of work stoppage, so it’s time to get back to work. But be careful, the work
you have achieved to get yourself out of this serious situation could be wasted it you fall back into the same pattern. Identify the factors that put you into this condition so that you can eliminate them. It could be too much of a workload, a manager you don’t get along with, unmanageable files, unsustainable schedules, too short deadlines… Or all of these at the same time. So be sure to avoid these elements and, if it’s not feasible in your current position, it may be a sign that a change of air is needed.